Having family in Boston, I read the article in Sunday Telegram: “More than a lover, Exhibit illuminates journeys of Casanova” at the Museum of Fine Arts,” Act section (August 5th issue). I am glad that the article noted that Giacomo (James) Casanova was much more that the stereotype of a lady’s man or seducer; but that he was a man of some honor too. He studied for the Catholic priesthood, and was honored by the pope with high honors.
Giacomo Casanova went from being a Catholic priest in Italy who was honored by popes; to journeying up to France and joining the Masonic Lodge and the Masonic Rosicrucians, an honorable group unlike other groups with similar names. Casanova met the King of England; Catherine the Great of Russia and King Frederick-the-Great of Prussia. Casanova visited Germany, Poland, Moravia which is today’s Czech Republic. He met Benjamin Franklin and the noted intellectual Voltaire, both of whom were Freemasons, like himself. I have studied Casanova since my college days and I know he is not as racy as his modern biographers make him seem. Even his autobiography must be judged skeptically, since it was income to support himself – so he had motive to jazz-it-up for “hype” to increase book sales and thus, his income.
I enjoyed the artifacts I saw at the Art Exhibit, especially an encased violin which Casanova knew how to play. Truly, Casanova had much more honor in his soul than we are prone to think.
James A. Marples